Category Archives: Nutrition

Maine School Food Service Directors recognized

Two Maine School Food Service Directors were recognized for their outstanding work by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Northeast Regional office. The two directors were featured in the USDA’s first publication of The Cafeteria Chronicles.

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Organizations needed to feed hungry children this summer

AUGUSTA — With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine public schools have long offered a nutritious breakfast and lunch meal program to thousands of income eligible children in Maine during the school year.

To extend this program, the Child Nutrition Service, a division of the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE), is now seeking out organizations who would like to participate in this federally funded Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a program that provides children healthy meals when school is not in session.

“We all realize that children learn better when they have nutritious meals during the school day,” says Maine DOE Acting Commissioner William Beardsley. “Our long standing public school breakfast and lunch programs have served Maine children well. With federal assistance, Maine needs partners for the Summer Food Service Program.”

Last summer, 118 sponsors participated in the program, serving an average of 11,400 lunches a day to children at almost 400 sites reaching about 20 percent of eligible children. Community partners are working to maximize the number of sponsors utilizing the availability of funds under the SFSP.

The Summer Food Service Program may be offered statewide in areas or at sites where more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program or where census track data supports the need.

Organizations that provide services in rural communities or near migrant farm workers and American Indian populations are urged to participate. Eligible sponsoring organizations include schools, nonprofit residential summer camps, government agencies, and tax-exempt organizations including faith-based organizations.

Maine DOE encourages any eligible organization to consider providing this much-needed service to Maine children. The agency will begin accepting applications to participate in mid-February. Approved sponsors will be reimbursed for eligible meals served to children during the long summer break.

Interested organizations should begin planning now for a successful SFSP. Potential sponsors are required to take training courses. Current workshops are planned April 14 for new sponsors and March 16 for experienced sponsors. Maine DOE is available to attend meetings or consult by phone and email to answer questions regarding summer meals.

For more information about the Maine DOE’s Summer Food Service Program, contact gail.lombardi@maine.gov, call 624-6842, or visit http://www.maine.gov/education/sfs.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal and, where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or if all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form online or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities and wish to file either an EEO or program complaint please contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339 or (800) 845-6136 (in Spanish).

Persons with disabilities, who wish to file a program complaint, please see information above on how to contact us by mail directly or by email If you require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) please contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 

Child nutrition staff recognized

Recently, five members of Maine Department of Education’s School Finance and Operations Team were recognized for their work in summer meals for students.

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Reminder: Lunch served on early release days

Maine DOE is reminding districts the school lunch meal must be offered to students each school day, including planned half days and early release, as part of the National School Lunch Program Agreement to Participate.

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Harvest Lunch Week contest and local food on school menus

Maine Harvest Lunch Week will be celebrated by school districts across the state this year from Sept. 21-25, with the Maine School Garden Open House taking place on Sept. 26. This year’s theme is “A Fresh Take on School Meals.”

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Professional standards for food service

As part of the Federal Hunger Free Kids Act that went into effect July 1, local food service directors or the individual completing director’s duties must now meet the minimum hiring requirements for the director position. The standards have several options available to local districts. The new federal law also requires local food service staff to meet training standards.

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Commissioner’s Conference

In case you missed the 104th Annual Commissioner’s Conference, here is a recap with valuable links.

Acting Commissioner of Education, Thomas Desjardin opened and closed the conference at Sunday River with timely updates on the ongoing FY16 budget discussions and voting at the State House at the time. He also acknowledged the ever changing educational climate and the hard work and successes of school leaders and Maine DOE’s support through its multi-faceted services.

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Summer nourishment

The Summer Food Services Program kicked off in Bangor and Portland on June 19 and is in full swing throughout the state this month. In Bangor, five sites are open keeping students nourished through a cooperative effort of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Bangor School District, Bangor Housing Authority, USDA, and Maine DOE’s Child Nutrition Services.

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On the road with a message about food

Child Nutrition Programs of the Maine DOE has a new ride and it’s the first in the Northeast.

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Department’s Office of Child Nutrition provides clarification on half-day school lunch

Due to recent questions regarding offering school lunch on half days, the Maine DOE’s Office of Child Nutrition is clarifying the National School Lunch Program Agreement to Participate.

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